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Tencent to run player ID checks across its entire portfolio in China

"Healthy gaming" system to expand beyond Honor of Kings in 2019, to allay the government's addiction fears

Tencent will start verifying the identities of all gamers playing its products in China against police records, starting in 2019.

The "healthy gaming" system was introduced for Honor of Kings in September, but that has proved to only be a trial for a more pervasive initiative. According to a post on Tencent's official WeChat account - as reported by Reuters - that will expand to another nine of the company's most popular titles immediately, and then to its entire portfolio next year.

The system includes ID checks against police records, and a strict limit on play-time each day - children under 12 can play for one hour a day, with children 12 and over allowed two hours. The measures stem from the Chinese government's concern about addiction to video games among young people, which became apparent more than a year ago.

This is part of a larger issue in China that is hurting the games industry as a whole. The government has put a freeze on granting new game licenses while it designs and implements a new approvals process, which is likely to take another six months to complete. This is also preventing games from being approved for in-app purchases, harming their ability to make money.

This has proved particularly damaging for Tencent, which has lost 28% of its share value in this year alone.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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